Works of Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns

By Hesiod; Daryl Hine | Go to book overview

THE BATTLE OF THE
FROGS AND THE MICE

I shall begin by beseeching the chorus of Helicon: Muses,   1
Visit my innermost heart for the sake of the narrative poem
I have put down in original form on my lap on these tablets.
“Strife beyond measure, lamentable battle, the work of the War God”
Fain would I bring to the hearing of every articulate person,   5
And in what manner the frogs and the mice, to see who were the better,
Went out as if emulating the feats of chthonian giants.
Such is the tale among men. And it had its beginning as follows.
Once did a mouse that was thirsty, escaped from the threatening
polecat,
Put forth his delicate muzzle beside a large body of water,   10
Taking delight in the honey-sweet taste of the drink. There espied him
One whose great joy was the swamp, many voiced, and he uttered this
question:
“Stranger, who are you? and whence do you hail to this shore? and who
was it,
Tell me, begat you? Now tell me the truth of it all and don’t let me
Think you are lying; for if I consider you worthy of friendship,   15
I shall invite you to my house and give many generous presents.
I am his Majesty Swellcheek that throughout the length of the swamp
am
Ruler and Lord of the Frogs and am held in perpetual honor.
Peleus,1 known as Old Muddy, the father that bred me, he wed with

1. The name of Achilles’ father, emphasizing the burlesque epic character.

-197-

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Works of Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Hesiod - Works and Days Theogony 21
  • Works and Days 23
  • Theogony 53
  • The Homeric Hymns - The Battle of the Frogs and the Mice 89
  • Translator’s Note 91
  • The Homeric Hymns 95
  • The Battle of the Frogs and the Mice 197
  • Index 209
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